I Analyzed Polish Population Around the Globe – Here is What I Know

The population of Poland is estimated at 37.9 million (2023). The Polish diaspora, however, represents an estimated 21 million people. This means that there are almost 60 million Poles or people with Polish roots in the world. Such a large scale of dispersion is a consequence of our country’s past. The period of occupation, unsuccessful uprisings, two world wars, communism, martial law, and the difficult situation during the period of political transition. All these factors caused the Polish population to be dispersed all over the world. Migrations were often forced or compulsory. Many of these were motivated by political and economic factors.

There Are 37.7 Million Poles Living in Poland (2022)

It is estimated that more than 21 million Poles or people of Polish origin live outside of Poland.

Is Poland Highly Poplulated? Polish people form the sixth largest diaspora in the world. The bigger ones are the Irish, Jews, Armenians, Albanians, and Portuguese. There are a lot of Polish people everywhere. Actually, there are Poles living on every continent.

  • North America: 11,500,000
  • Western Europe: 7.100.000
  • South America: 2,300,000
  • Australia: 200,000
  • Asia: 106,000
  • Africa: 35,000

Main Destination by Countries

Polish Citizens Emigrating from Poland by Years201820192020
Total2 455 0002 415 0002 239 000
Europe – Total2 155 0002 134 0001 973 000
Austria41 00041 00042 000
Belgium54 00053 00052 000
Czech Republic10 00010 00010 000
Denmark34 00034 00034 000
Finland3 0003 0003 000
France64 00063 00063 000
Greece7 0007 0005 000
Spain28 00028 00028 000
Netherlands123 000125 000135 000
Ireland113 000112 000114 000
Germany706 000704 000706 000
Sweden51 00051 00049 000
United Kingdom695 000678 000
Italy90 00088 00086 000
Norway86 00088 00097 000
Source: https://stat.gov.pl/

There are About 21,200,000 Poles Outside Poland Now (2022)

In Western Europe, the Pole has always been a important worker in agriculture. Particularly after the labor market opened up in 2004, the number of Polish workers in agriculture, construction, and other jobs that do not require an education has increased exponentially.

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The Great Emigration

At Polish school, we are proudly told about “The Great Emigration” in the 19th century, when tens of thousands of Polish elites left. Supposedly, they suffered from longing for their motherland while living in Paris. Instead, I think we should learn about the Great Polish Emigration of the 21st century. Well, this emigration is far more historically significant.

Polish People in the UK

The Polish diaspora in Great Britain or Ireland is a very active economic group. During the global economic crisis (around 2009), part of the Polish diaspora reemigrated to Poland. Re-emigration, however small, was also observed in 2019. Temporary emigration (estimated) from Poland in 2019 compared to 2018 was lower by 40,000 people. The reasons for this change are primarily related to the number of migrants staying in the UK. The number of Poles staying temporarily in the UK has decreased due to Brexit.

May the 2nd – The Official Polish “National Flag Day” and the “Day of Poles Abroad”

During these days, patriotic organizations conduct a campaign to raise the Polish flag on their buildings. Also, many Polish citizens in Poland raise the flag on their homes.

Largest Communities of Poles in the World

The number of our fellow Polish citizens can only be roughly estimated, as it is difficult to determine who should be considered a Pole and who is no longer one. This is due to the different criteria we could use. One example would be:

  • being born in Poland
  • having a multi-ethnic background
  • knowing the Polish language
  • or being aware of one’s origin.

United States

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as many as 9.15 million people in the United States declared themselves to be Polish Americans in 2018. This equates to 2.83 percent of the US population.

The largest communities of Polish Americans today are active in the following cities in the United States:

Chicago: it is known as the most Polish-speaking city in the US. It is home to 182,000 Polish-Americans. Polish in Chicago is the third most popular language, after English and Spanish. It can be heard often on the streets. Poles are concentrated, especially in an area to the north of the city (called Polish Downtown), where we can find numerous Polish stores and restaurants.

New York: This city is home to the second-largest population of Poles in the US. They are concentrated, especially in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. Many Poles also live in the New York suburbs of Newark and New Jersey.

Milwaukee: Polish immigrants have been coming there since the 19th century, and today there are 45,000 of them. They organize the annual Polish Fest. It is one of the largest Polish events in the US, attracting Polish immigrants from all over the state of Wisconsin.

Canada, Europe, and the Rest

Canada is home to about 1 million people who are Polish in origin. The two largest Polish diaspora centers are Montreal and Toronto. In South America, on the other hand, the largest number of people of Polish origin can be found in Brazil and Argentina. The Polish diaspora in the former country is estimated to be 1.6–3.0 million people, while the diaspora in the latter country is estimated to be 150–450 thousand people. The largest Polish community of this type in Brazil is in Curitiba. By contrast, the most population-rich centers in Argentina are Cordoba and Buenos Aires.

Our country’s past has influenced a large percentage of the Polish diaspora to live in Europe. There are about 2 million people of Polish origin living in Germany. Ruhr, Hamburg, and Berlin are the largest Polish diaspora centers in this country.The French Polish diaspora, which accounts for about 1 million people, is located primarily in Paris. The United Kingdom is a concentration of about 850,000 people of Polish origin. The main Polish centers are Birmingham, Bradford, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London.

Where do Poles emigrate most often? Which countries? 1990-2020

Main Reasons for the Emigration of Poles

  1. Seeking new jobs or positions that are better paid and more appreciated
  2. The political situation of the country
  3. Higher quality of life
  4. Better healthcare
  5. Increased social tolerance
  6. More opportunities for personal development
  7. Family or loved ones already living abroad

In 2019, Poles were most likely to emigrate permanently to European countries (9,701 people). The reason for choosing these destinations is geographical distance and good communication between the home country and the emigration destination. The fewest Poles went to Africa—only 8 people.

Who is „Pole” Anyway?

The definition of “Pole” itself is not clear. Is the emigrant still a Pole after 40 years? Are they his children? The opinions will be mixed. Is a Pole someone who feels Polish or whose parents are both Polish? Nobody knows. In our history, despite the declarations made by millions of Poles that they emigrated from Poland to escape oppression, occupation, and war, the real reason was and still is—to improve their standard of living.

No nation in Europe has fled as eagerly to the rich West as we have. Apparently, this is our character: while we loudly shout “God, Nation, Homeland,”, our patriotism quietly leaves us as soon as the opportunity for a better life abroad arises.

Temporary emigration – is the movement of residents of Poland to other countries. This trip covers a period of more than 3 months (without changing the country of permanent residence). After Poland’s accession to the European Union (2004) and to the Schengen area (2007), migration movements – especially those based on economic factors – escalated. By definition, these migrations were and are temporary by nature. It often happens that people of Polish origin have already settled permanently in the countries to which they emigrate.


  • https://wise.com/pl/blog/polonia-w-usa-i-polacy-w-usa
  • GUS: Informacja o rozmiarach i kierunkach czasowej emigracji z Polski w latach 2004-2020
  • https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polonia_w_Stanach_Zjednoczonych
  • https://stat.gov.pl/download/gfx/portalinformacyjny/pl/defaultaktualnosci